Coffee Education: The Green Coffee Loading Pit at the Roastery.

A few of my readers are very interested in all the details of how a cup of coffee goes from bean to your cup at home. Along the coffee bean’s journey, there are numerous steps, some of which are quality control. Some of these steps filter impurities that could get mixed into the bag with the green, unroasted coffee.

This morning, shortly before 7:00 AM. I headed to the Roastery. I snapped a photo of the very quiet Roastery, as I was walked across the street:

2 - 1 - 20151011_065215[1] The Roastery 7 AM October 11 2015

At the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, before the coffee is roasted there is a loading process. The coffee is poured out of burlap sacks into a pit built below the floor level. Here’s the Reserve coffee (this will be this month’s Roastery subscription coffee) waiting to be loading into the “green coffee loading pit” and later roasted:

2 - 1 - 20151011_065317[1] bali vintage klasik before loading into the green coffee pitA lot of people don’t know that there are a lot of mechanics going on underneath the floor where you see the coffee stacked up. There is a loading pit which coffee is poured into.

2 - 1 - 20151011_070551[1] green coffee loading pitCoffee falls into the pit, passing a large and powerful magnet. The magnet acts to capture and filter any tiny metallic particles which could have found their way into the burlap sack. This loading process is one more step to make sure the quality of the coffee is perfect. Usually, the pit is not disassembled quite like above, but coffee loader Dane pulled out the magnet for me to see:

2 - 1- 20151011_070600[1] magnetic barsThe coffee loader then (one by one) opens the sacks of coffee and pours it into the “green coffee loading pit.” Each bag has about 130 pound of green coffee. This Bali Vintage Klasik will be roasted later today for those who have a Roastery Coffee Subscription.

I used Periscope this morning and showed off Dane opening up the bags of coffee and pouring them into the green coffee loading pit.

A conveyor belt (which is partially under the floor and mechanically connected to the to green coffee loading pit) carries the filtered coffee to a holding area out of view. When the roasters are ready to roast the coffee, a conveyor belt carries it to the roaster.

My video has a lot of noise in the background and that is largely from the noise of a the conveyor belt operating while the coffee is being loaded into the pit.


I realize this kind of coffee education appeals to the hardcore coffee fan, nonetheless it’s tremendous the many steps and hands that have touched your coffee before it’s finally in your cup. I assume that all roasters have some means of filtering impurities. Starbucks has multiple steps along the way!

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  • Elisabeth

    Thank you for sharing! So neat!!! :-)

  • Melody

    @Elisabeth! Thanks! It’s a look at “Behind the bean & underneath the floor!” 😉

  • Anton Coleman

    Great article Melody. We get these detailed questions ALL the time and this is one area that’s a bit harder to explain as a lot of it is unseen.

    -Anton Coleman

  • Melody

    @Anton – Thank you! That means a lot coming from you!

  • Lisa Waller

    Yes, Melody, I am one of the people who loves reading about all this. Thanks so much. I’m hoping to be able to see it in person one day.

  • Alyssa

    I love these articles! This was one of the coolest things to see when I visited the Roastery.

  • Claire

    Awesome article Melody – thanks for sharing to hardcore devotees like myself, I was loving the behind the scenes and made my sunday armchair travelling really Sweet!!

  • Nicaragua Maracaturra

    […] about the Roastery often: one lesser-known step of the process of coffee roasting is the “green coffee loading pit.” I strongly suggest visiting that older article. There are so many steps from bean to your […]

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